Greater Things to Come: King Jesus, The Hope of the Nations

We serve a King who is a rescuer, a King who conquers, who defeats, and who heals. He not only puts all His enemies under His feet, He also comforts the hurting, heals the sick, and brings hope to the broken if they run to Him. He conquers the enemies of His children. I encountered two things recently that caused me to think more deeply about the victorious, rescuing power of our King. These things caused me to realize that I often times do not “love His appearing” when He will make all things right and at other times do not trust in the Power He has to set things right now. These two things caused me to sense anew that there are indeed greater things coming for our cities, a hope for the nations that is greater than wealth or prosperity, and a King who is drawing in some from all of those nations.

The first thing that caused me to start thinking about these things was a blog that Dr. Danny Akin wrote entitled “A Ride Down Prostitution Row: Why the Nations Cry Out for a Great Commission Resurgence.” Here are some excerpts:

As we were headed to our restaurant, our driver turned down a street where I was totally unprepared for what I saw. Suddenly on both sides of the road, for at least a half of a mile, hundreds and hundreds of prostitutes lined the sidewalks. Some could not have been more than eleven or twelve years old. They were actually dressed in seductive uniforms that were similar to what you would see in a private Junior High or Middle School. The faces of these little girls and women I will never forget. Sadness, emptiness and hopelessness was etched across their countenance. Sex slave traders prey on ignorant and unsuspecting parents, especially in rural areas, promising a better life for their children in the “big cities.” I was overcome with a sense of sorrow and despair I have seldom experienced. God you must do something. We, as your ambassadors, must do something!

Do you need a little motivation to pray and work for a Great Commission Resurgence? Take a short ride down prostitution row. I think you will find it will be all that you need.

The lostness and darkness of a world without Christ came home in a new and unexpected way the night I was taken down prostitution row. The need for Southern Baptists to get radically serious about the gospel and the Great Commission never seemed more urgent. The nations are crying out for hope, and we have it. The nations are crying out for deliverance, and we have it. The nations are crying out for life, and we have it. The nations are crying out for salvation, and we have it.

Do you need a little motivation to pray and work for a Great Commission Resurgence? Take a short ride down prostitution row. I think you will find it will be all that you need.

Later my father, Dr. Akin, and I received an email from Dr. Alvin Reid because of the blog. This was the second item that caused me to think about the rescuing power of our King. The email told about the background to the song “God of this City,” which was inspired by the same city and Street that prompted my dad to write his blog. Here is what Dr. Reid wrote:

Hey Guys I wanted both of you to see this.  After your stirring story about Thailand, Danny, I wondered if you knew about this song and its story. It is called God of the City. Tomlin sang it at Passion but the original group, Bluetree… wrote it. This song was inspired from their trip to Thailand.  If either of you get the time, read the story of the song below and then listen to it. Pretty much messed me up In a good way.

Here is the story. Read it and listen to the song, and if it hits you like it did me, weep:
Nov 2007, Bluetree are heading out to Pattaya Thailand to participate in an event arranged by Belfast missionaries living in Pattaya, Thailand called Pattaya Praise. We’ve no expectation of the event; we were just looking for an opportunity to serve somehow.

We didn’t know much about it before we left, but Pattaya is a dark place. It’s a small seaside town notorious for it’s sex trade. Throughout our time there we heard countless stories of girls who are bought from their parents for a price, sold to the sex industry at ages as young as 5 years old. Arriving in Pattaya the spiritual climate seems to change, it’s hard to define, but there is a very tangible change. On the bus journey in we’d been our usual cheery selves, but entering Pattaya at 10am and turning on to a street lined by girls ready for business, the bus became very quiet. We’re in total shock. It’s a sunny day but it’s incredible how dark it feels.

‘Walking street’ we learn is the epicentre of the sex trade in Pattaya, it’s about a mile long and at night springs to life with neon signs. Thai people are generally conservative in their dress sense – it’s generally considered provocative to bare your shoulders. But on their street the girls are wearing very little, and offering anything you can imagine for a price. It’s easy to look around with human eyes, see the depravity and get angry. You see older men walking hand-in-hand with young girls – as a daddy, that’s hard to take in. It’s easy to get angry, it’s easy to judge – but that’s not our job, so we grit our teeth.

We were in Pattaya to be part of a praise event not far from this street, the soul purpose of which was to worship and show God’s light in a dark place. We wanted to play more than the scheduled slots while we were there, so we found out that one of the bar owners would let us play a worship set in her bar on the proviso that we brought as many from the missions team who would buy coke-a-cola all night. We walk in to the bar which is about the middle of walking street, girls are lined up on the stairs waiting for business. We get set up, we’re really nervous and quite uncomfortable but we kick in to a familiar beat of worship and soon it’s ok. God starts to speak and we started to move in to this spontaneous song. The truth is when you worship in a place, you start to see God’s heart for that place. What would God say to a place like this?

Amidst the depravity God say’s, I’m the God of this City, I’m the King of these people and Greater Thing are Yet to Come, Greater Things are Still to be Done HERE. The song wasn’t written before that night, but we came out of the bar having worshipped with the song that is now the title track of our album – God of this City (Greater things). The song isn’t just for Pattaya – it’s for your city, and it’s true. By faith we must expect that greater things are still to be done.”

This situation is a tragedy. Yet, in the midst of all of this pain and sorrow and heartache, there is a message of hope, because we serve a King who is a rescuer and who will set all things right. It is my hope that we will believe this and fight for this in our cities, in our states, in our countries, and throughout the world realizing that someday the eastern sky will split and these cities will see something that they have never seen before. It is the hope of this song that millions will be changed by the message of an ever-advancing kingdom. Greater things are yet to come, and it has nothing to do with wealth or prosperity. It has to do with the appearing of a King who will march in to a city. Greater things are yet to come, and it has to do with a King that can transform lives and cities right now. Ultimately, we all need rescuing by the King who can truly make greater things come to the cities. May we believe that Christ can transform cities now, let’s pray for that transformation and envision that transformation as we seek to minister to our cities. Let’s resolve to be missions-saturated people who seek to give this message to our cities, the only message that saves, the only ONE who saves: King Jesus.

The version of the song written by Bluetree is at the top, at the bottom is a Chris Tomlin version. Please checkout the song inspired by that street in Pattaya.

N.A.

Comments 0

  1. Thanks for this Nathan. After the email, while I was in Thailand, I talked to one of our Ms who spent a year in Pattaya. What a dark city. But darkness reigns in US cities also. THe US Census Bureau tells us that in 2000 80% of the US population lived in urban areas. But only 50% of Southern Baptists are there. We need to see the God of the City at work in our land as well.

  2. Doc,

    I agree, I pointed to these writing and added my thoughts because I want us to see that all the cities and nations need this King. From Raleigh to Pattaya to Louisville, etc. I am hoping that a great army of preachers go to cities here and overseas and are consumed with what this song is talking about, a hope for greater things in our cities.

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